Lena Waithe Weighs in on Tyler Perry’s One-Man Writer’s Room Boast

TCA 2020: “What if another writer had an idea that might be better than yours?” the “Twenties” creator says

Lena Waithe has weighed in on Tyler Perry’s tweet from last week that touted his “work ethic,” where he said he wrote all of his television series himself, without a writers’ room.

“Every artist is different, and I gotta say, Tyler has been very supportive of me and a lot of other black artists,” Waithe told reporters in response to a question about Perry’s tweet on Tuesday at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.

In the video Perry tweeted, he said: “So, I don’t know if you know this but all shows on television have a writers’ room, and most of the time there are 10 [or] 12 people that write these television shows. Well, I have no writers’ room. Nobody writes any of my work. I write it all. Why am I telling you this? I wrote all of these scripts by myself in 2019. What’s my point? Work ethic.”

Waithe was on hand to promote her BET comedy series “Twenties,” which follows a queer black girl in her 20s and her two straight best friends. She also pointed out the benefits of hearing other writers’ opinions.

“I wrote that pilot [for ‘Twenties’] loosely based on my life, but the show is better because of all the people who came in and helped me see it a different way,” she said.

“It’s a very interesting family we have, and I think Black Hollywood is a family. We have our issues like everybody else, but sometimes family business is family business. And also Black Hollywood is big business. My thing is, I cannot do everything by myself,” she continued. “There’s no way. I think people like to believe that, I think that’s easy for them to say, yeah, that’s all you. But the truth is I have so many amazing writers, phenomenal writers who have brought these characters to life.”

“And when these young writers say, ‘Well, I have the first 10 scripts written’ — Well, what if another writer had an idea that might be better than yours?” she continued. “Amazing actors [tell me] they have thoughts and ideas, and they talk to me, and I go, ‘Oh okay, yeah, that makes more sense or that’s funnier.’ I like being collaborative. But there’s some people who can do it all themselves. I’m just not one of those artists.”

See Perry’s tweet and video below:

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